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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Sunday June 23rd 2024

An Author’s Author

Something I Said

By DWIGHT HOBBES

a photo of the author
Dwight Hobbes

Marcie Rendon is an author’s author. Among her accomplishments: Murder on the Red River, Girl Gone Missing, Sinister Graves (crime novels), SongCatcher (Minnesota History Theater), Pow Wow Summer, Farmer’s Market: Families Working Together (non-fiction) and Dreaming Into Being (poetry). She’s won a slew of awards, including McKnight Foundation’s Distinguished Artist Award, Pinckley Prize for Debut Crime Fiction and WLA Children’s Book Award. Marcie Rendon gave the following interview to the alley.

Q: You’re producer/director/creator of ‘Free FryBread’ (Raving Native Productions) a mock telethon mercilessly satirizing America’s prison system and its treatment of Indigenous people. How’d that happen?
A: [It] came about as a result of me receiving the LIN (Leadership in Neighborhoods Award) back in the early 90s. The goal for me, for the award, was to create a viable Native American presence in the Twin Cities Theater community. I met with all the various artistic directors around the Cities. I did not want to create a ‘new’ theater or 501c3 – I wanted us, Native folks, to have access to the already existing theaters. Another part of the project was to gather Native folks who might be interested in theater [once] a month for a year, provide food and open the table for discussion. Somehow out of that came the idea to create a Minnesota Fringe piece, which became ‘Free FryBread’.

Q: It has been, to say the least, well received.
A: Sold out run at Bryant/Lake Bowl Fringe 1999. We did it at the Women’s Club for another Fringe. Were invited to the St. Croix Casino for their dinner show the next year. We did an adapted version at Intermedia Arts titled Free FryBread and Chitlins Too. It included a spoof of Ike & Tina Turner.

Soho Press, Incorporated.

Q: Stitches of Tradition, children’s picture book, is slated for late 2024. Anything else?
A: In the spring of 2024, University of Minnesota Press is publishing Anishinaabe Songs for the New Millennium. Fall of 2024 will see a stand-alone crime novel – not a Cash Blackbear novel – Where They Last Saw Her from Ballantine Bantam Dell-Penguin Random House. This is a contemporary crime novel with cell phones and all. Later in the fall of 2024, HarperCollins’ imprint Heartdrum will publish Stitches of Traditions about a grandmother who gets shorter and shorter and makes ribbon skirts for her granddaughter who gets taller and taller. I am also working with Out of Hand Theater in Atlanta, Georgia on my script, Say Their Names, a performance piece about #mmiw [Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women] for the Equitable Dinners productions. Working [hard] on Cash 4 & 5.

Q: Why whodunits?
A: Why not? Actually, my favorite books to read are crime novels so it made sense to write in that genre.

Q: You still active empowering women?
A: During the school year of 22-23 I, with Sigwan Rendon and Serene Eidem, met with the women who are Little Earth Protectors one time a month. During that time I encouraged them to write their story of their actions immediately following the George Floyd uprising and what they did to protect the Little Earth housing and surrounding community. In June 2023, we published a chapbook of their writing. Since non-native folks arrived here, our stories have been written by everyone else. Sigwan Rendon and Serene Eidem provided Reiki healing to the women who wanted that. This was the opportunity for these courageous women to write their story, from their perspective for future generations to read. Funding was provided by Minneapolis Creative Response Fund.

Q: How do you feel, what do you think, reflecting on your success?
A: I am grateful to the ‘greater universe’ for giving me this gift to write and the time and ability to share it. I am also happy that I get this opportunity to write Native stories, from a Native perspective, for Native folks – and others to enjoy.

Dwight Hobbes is a long-time Twin Cities journalist and essayist.

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